hotel upselling techniques

Hotel guests can be a frustrating bunch, can’t they? You spend all year refurbishing your best rooms only to find that the majority of bookers opt for your standard singles and doubles, leaving those suites and deluxe rooms vacant and haemorrhaging revenue.

The key to maximising your hotel’s occupancy and raising its bottom line lies in the art of upselling. In this post, we’ve got some brilliant tips that will help your front desk staff upsell effectively, and you’ll be glad to hear there's not a single piece of rocket science or magic involved - just good, old-fashioned common sense.

Make upgrades reasonable with sensible rack rates

A common mistake made by hoteliers is to tempt guests into discount schemes and only present them with the least expensive room types (while offering upgrades at rack rate and making them seem wholly unreasonable).

Let’s consider an example. If your standard double room has a rack rate of £150 while the deluxe version is £180, the £30 difference will seem reasonable to most guests. However, throw in a guest who has gained a special rate on the standard double of £120, and the new upgrade price of £60 suddenly seems like poor value.

This doesn’t make the front desk operative’s life particularly easy, so how do you solve such a conundrum and make room upsells tempting for all? The answer is devilishly simple - you just need to introduce a flat rate for upgrading room types. In doing so, every guest will have the option to upgrade for a reasonable price and you could make additional revenue on room types that may have otherwise been sold at a lower rate.

Ask if guests are aware of upgrades

A superb tactic for front desk staff is to ask guests whether or not they are aware of the upgrades offered by the hotel. “Were you made aware of our suite options when you booked?” won’t offend anyone and is the perfect upselling ice-breaker.

Never devalue their first room selection

If a guest has booked your lowest-tier room, avoid any temptation to point out that it isn’t much to get excited about. “I see you’ve only booked our standard double room, sir” won’t win you any friends, nor will it put the guest in the best frame of mind.

An unhappy guest will never push the button on upgrades, so always start the conversation at check-in by congratulating them on their choice of room. “I see you’ve booked one of our lovely standard rooms, which I’m sure you’ll find very comfortable. Please note, we do have some lovely upgrades on offer, too…” is more likely to garner a positive response and make the guest question their initial choice without them feeling short-changed.

Present any room upgrade as an opportunity

The key to successful upselling in any industry lies in the art of presenting customers with opportunities. “We’ve just had our suites refurbished,” or “we’re trialling a new room service menu for deluxe rooms” are both ways in which you can tempt guests to treat themselves.

Everyone wants to feel special once in a while, and if you present a room upgrade as an opportunity to experience something few others have, you should find that plenty of guests will take the bait.

Seize the early check-in opportunity

If a guest arrives early, your reception staff are presented with a brilliant opportunity to upsell. It may feel more appropriate to take the guest’s luggage and usher them over to the bar while they wait for their room to be cleaned, but before doing so, why not offer them an upgrade to a room that is already clean? If they’re particularly weary and simply want to let the stresses and strains of the day ebb away, they may see the value in spending a little more.


We’ve focussed on the task of upselling room types in this post, but there are a huge number of ways in which you can raise the value of every booking you receive. Make sure you subscribe to our blog using the form below and be the first to know when we delve further into this topic.

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